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Flying the Arrow, A Native American Game - Harper's



When not on the war-path, or engaged in hunting, Western Indians spend much of their time in various games or contests of skill. Of these contests one of the most popular is flying the arrow, a sport to which the Indians of all tribes devote considerable time and attention.

When this game is proposed, each of those who wish to join in it lays on the ground something of small value, such as a pipe, quiver of arrows, a bow, spear, tobacco pouch, or knife, and when all have been collected, the value of the whole makes a prize well worth trying for.

Then bows are carefully examined, a dozen of the best arrows in the quiver selected, and the first of the competitors steps out in front of the rest, and prepares to shoot, not at a mark, but straight up into the air. His object is to have as many arrows in the air as possible at the same time; and he who can send up the greatest number, before the first touches the ground, wins the game and all the prizes.

But few of the most expert of the Indian bow-men have been known to put more than ten arrows into the air at once, and to do even this requires extraordinary skill and strength. The arrows, ten or twelve in number, are held in the hand that grasps the bow, and the rapidity with which each is fitted to the string and sent upward is truly wonderful.